United States may apply laptop ban to Europe, UK flights
United States may apply laptop ban to Europe, UK flights
15 May, 2017, 17:31
Department of Homeland Security officials told The Daily Beast that the organization could extend the ban on laptops, tablets and other large electronic devices to all flights from Europe to the U.S. The ban now applies to 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa.
The move, which would impact routes that carry as many as 65 million people a year on over 400 daily flights, would expand a ban already in place for planes flying out of eight Middle Easte and African countries. At that time, the United States and Britain barred passengers traveling through airports in 10 Muslim-majority countries from carrying laptop computers, tablets and other devices larger than cellphones aboard direct inbound flights.
"Commissioner Bulc highlighted the potential safety implications of putting a large number of electronic devices in the aircraft hold", a European Commission spokesperson said.
The restriction was introduced in March over fears that bombs or explosive materials could be concealed on electronic devices brought onboard.
The US Department of Homeland Security sparked deep concern in Europe on Tuesday when it said was close to a decision on extending to Europeans an existing ban imposed on eight countries. Airline representatives have met Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in Washington to discuss the matter and have also expressed their concerns to Congress, Bloomerberg said, quoting two unnamed Congressional sources.
If confirmed, the ban would heighten tensions between the European Union and United States, which have been at pains to see eye to eye under President Donald Trump.
DHS officials are expected to speak to airline industry representations and lawmakers Thursday about security and consideration of the ban.
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A report by Reuters said that the usa government is reviewing "how to ensure lithium batteries stored in luggage holds do not explode in midair".
Delta, United and American Airlines, plus trade group Airlines for America, are reported to have held talks with USA security officials in Washington DC on Thursday (May 11).
Numerous flights are operated by USA airlines such as Delta, United and American, or their European partners.
Airlines told CBS News that they have begun making preparations for an extended ban, with Lufthansa saying in a statement that it "has internally evaluated different scenarios for possible enhancements to the ban". Baggage in cargo usually goes through a more sophisticated screening process than carry-on bags.
A European Commission spokeswoman said a telephone call between top EU officials and their U.S. peers had provided "a very constructive exchange of views".
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